Mindfulness in Schools Resource Hub

Research on Mindfulness in Schools

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PLEASE NOTE: we can only provide links for articles and not PDFs due to copyright restrictions.


Below are a list of some studies which have explored the acceptability and effectiveness of mindfulness based approaches in school settings or with young people. 

Mindfulness programs improves fourth to seventh graders optimism, general and school self-concept, positive and negative emotion and social skills 

This study explored the impact of mindfulness on 4th to 7th graders’ optimism, general and school self-concept, and positive and negative emotion (affect). Pre- and early adolescents who participated in the ME program showed significant increases in optimism and teacher rated classroom social competent behaviors.

Pilot study shows positive impact on stress responses amongst urban youth

A pilot randomized controlled trial assessing the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of a school-based mindfulness and yoga intervention. The intervention was attractive to students, teachers, and school administrators and that it had a positive impact on problematic responses to stress including rumination, intrusive thoughts, and emotional arousal.

UK study shows acceptability of mindfulness to teenagers and positive effects on stress and wellbeing

UK study of 522 young people aged 12–16 in 12 secondary schools. Acceptability of the mindfulness progam was high. Children who participated in the intervention reported fewer depressive symptoms post-treatment and at follow-up and lower stress and greater well-being at follow-up. The degree to which students in the intervention group practised the mindfulness skills was associated with better well-being  and less stress at 3-month follow-up.

Pilot study of a mindfulness programme with adolescents with learning disabilities

A pilot study to examine feasibility of, attitudes toward, and outcomes of a 5-week mindfulness meditation intervention administered to 34 adolescents diagnosed with LD. There were significant improvements in state and trait anxiety, social skills and academic performance.

Pilot study of a mindfulness programmes with adolescents and adults with ADHD

Examined an 8-week mindfulness program for adults and adolescents with ADHD. The majority of participants completed the training and reported high satisfaction. Pre–post improvements in self-reported ADHD symptoms and test performance on tasks measuring attention and cognitive inhibition were noted. Improvements in anxiety and depressive symptoms were also observed.

Pilot trial of ‘Learning to BREATHE’ programme shows improvements in emotional regulation and in physical symptoms. 

120 seniors (average age 17.4 years) from a private girls’ school participated as part of their health curriculum. Participants reported decreased negative emotion and increased feelings of calmness, relaxation, and self-acceptance. Improvements in emotion regulation and decreases in tiredness and aches and pains were significant in the treatment group at the conclusion of the program. 

Mindful awareness practices improves executive functions in elementary school children

Children ages 7–9 years received a mindfulness programme 30 minutes, twice per week, for 8 weeks. Afterwards, children receiving the programme who were less well regulated showed greater improvement in executive function, specifically behavioral regulation, metacognition, and overall global executive control.

Perceptions, experiences, and shifts in perspective for young people following mindfulness program

Interview study reporting that adolescents reported experiencing some form of positive benefit and enhanced self-awareness as a result of a mindfulness program. Significant variation in the types and intensity of changes occurring was identified, ranging from a reframing and reduction of daily stressors to transformational shifts in life orientation and well-being. Variations in perceptions of and experiences with mindfulness should be studied in further depth in the context of prospective intervention research, including their potentially differential influence on mental and physical health outcomes.

Effectiveness of the Mindfulness in Schools Programme: non-randomised controlled feasibility study

To aim of this study is to assess the acceptability and efficacy of a schools-based universal mindfulness intervention to enhance mental health and well-being.

"A conscious control over life and my emotions:" mindfulness practice and healthy young people. A qualitative study.

Although quantitative benefits of mindfulness training have been demonstrated in youth, little is known about the processes involved. The aim of this study was to gain a detailed understanding


Mindfulness Interventions with Youth: A Meta-Analysis

Mindfulness meditation is a well-validated intervention for symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders in adults, with meta-analyses showing moderate effect sizes. This study marks the first published meta-analysis of the burgeoning literature on mindfulness meditation with youth (conducted between 2004 and 2011) and identifies specific outcomes and sub-populations for whom mindfulness may be particularly helpful.

Contemplative Education: A Systematic, Evidence-Based Review of the effect of Meditation Interventions in Schools

Schools need reliable evidence about the outcomes of meditation programs before they consider if and how such programmes can influence learning agendas, curriculum and timetables. This paper reviewed evidence from 15 peer-reviewed studies of school meditation programmes with respect to three student outcomes: well-being, social competence and academic achievement. 

A review of research to date on the integration of mindfulness training into K-12 education

Studies show improvements in working memory, attention, academic skills, social skills, emotional regulation, and self-esteem, as well as self-reported improvements in mood and decreases in anxiety, stress, and fatigue.

2010 review of mindfulness based programs for children and adolescents

Developing mindfulness with children and young people: a review of the evidence and policy context

Nurturing Mindfulness in Children and Youth: Current State of Research 

This article reviews the current state of research on contemplative practices with children and youth. It reviews contemplative practices used both in treatment settings and in prevention or health promotion contexts, including school-based programs. Although there is great interest and potential promise for contemplative interventions, enthusiasm for promoting such practices outweighs the current evidence supporting them. Interventions that nurture mindfulness in children and youth may be a feasible and effective method of building resilience in universal populations and in the treatment of disorders in clinical populations. This review suggests that meditation and yoga may be associated with beneficial outcomes for children and youth, but the generally limited quality of research tempers the allowable conclusions. Well-designed experimental studies that are grounded in developmental theory and measure multiple indicators of change must fully test the efficacy of such interventions

Pages in this document

  1. Welcome
  2. Presentations from 17 January 2014 event
  3. Resources for working with young people
  4. Research on Mindfulness in Schools
  5. Mindfulness in the media
  6. Mindfulness and policy